Gamard’s Beltway Beat

— U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy has had a busy week. He sent several messages across federal agencies, including one asking for healthcare payment reform from Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, another asking U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to study the "most effective anti-opioid addiction education," and a third outlining the benefits of "using natural gas to fulfill energy needs" to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund. He’s also one of the 39 senators who signed the letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan urging them to prevent construction of the Russia-Germany natural gas pipeline. His child identity fraud protection bill passed the Senate, his bill to end taxpayer-funded paintings of government officials passed the House, and he now has another bill to "provide justice to victims of the Stanford Ponzi Scheme." Here’s the senior senator in committee claiming “abuse” of the 340B drug pricing program. He appeared on Bloomberg Daybreak to talk drug price transparency and White House turnover: "Everybody is concerned...When there’s so much turnover, of course you’re concerned. So hopefully the president considers that when he makes these personal changes."

— U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, after demanding the United Airlines explain why 18 of the 24 animals who died in major U.S. airlines’ care were on its planes, is filing a bill: "I’d rather make it the law that animals aren’t to be treated like an old piece of luggage." He and Cassidy have a bill to help Louisiana school districts affected by the 2016 flood. Here’s his letter to the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole opposing the early release of an Angola prisoner, claiming Gov. John Bel Edwards’ "so-called criminal justice reform package" gave the convict an "undeserved gift," and his later thanks that the committee chose not to release him "despite Gov. Edwards’ efforts to free dangerous inmates."

— Congressman Steve Scalise spent the week warning that Democrats will raise taxes if House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is elected Speaker of the House at the a leadership press conference, and talks about further tax cuts, the Goodlatte-McCaul immigration bill and President Trump’s response to Russian aggression on Fox News: "If you look at what they (the Russians) did in our elections, he’s finally taking action when the previous administration didn’t." Here’s some of the  House Majority Whip’s praise for the Students, Teachers and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act: "Clearly, there are more things that need to be done, but this is one of those things that actually gets to the heart of addressing the problem to stop school violence before a tragedy happens."

— Congressman Cedric Richmond has been celebrating Women’s History Month with Facebook posts, along with commending the high school students who walked out of class in light of the Parkland mass shooting: "I stand with them because every American deserves to feel safe at school, at the movies, at concerts, at nightclubs, and in their neighborhoods."

— Congressman Clay Higgins is applauding the reinstatement of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline construction: "We can’t expect to compete internationally for private investment if we continue to allow politically-slanted plaintiffs and activist judges to wage war on the oil and gas industry." He said on his body passing the STOP Violence Act, "A need still exists for comprehensive data regarding which security assets are deployed at each of the 95,000-plus public schools in America, and further, tactical training standards for school security must be established."

— Congressman Mike Johnson appeared on Fox Business to talk the Trump border wall and failed legislation that would allow experimental drugs for terminally ill patients: "That was a real heartbreak for a lot of people who are really suffering." He also defended pro-life community pregnancy centers on the House floor.

— Congressman Ralph Abraham met with U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, and commemorated Panola Pepper founder Grady "Bubber" Brown on the floor. The congressman, Cassidy and Kennedy are some of the lawmakers asking United Nations U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley to omit pro-choice, pro-abortion language in international policies: "The U.S. must expend more energy on robust, pro-life participation in U.N. social policy debates."

— Congressman Garret Graves spent the week visiting the Abundant Life Church's reopening, touring the Baton Rouge Coca-Cola Bottling Company and helping donate a Baton Rouge sleuth of Smokey Bear dolls to the National Museum of Forest Service History. He met with New Roads Mayor Anthony Daisy to talk flood control, economic development and the Farm Bill and gave a Facebook shoutout to Livingston Parish contestant Laine Hardy on this season of American Idol — by the way, if you haven’t watched that audition tape, it looks like judges Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry have some questions about Looziana lifestyle.

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